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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Harvard scientists think they've pinpointed the physical source of consciousness

Fiona McDonald
Originally posted 8 November 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Now the Harvard team has identified not only the specific brainstem region linked to arousal, but also two cortex regions, that all appear to work together to form consciousness.

To figure this out, the team analysed 36 patients in hospital with brainstem lesions - 12 of them were in a coma (unconscious) and 24 were defined as being conscious.

The researchers then mapped their brainstems to figure out if there was one particular region that could explain why some patients had maintained consciousness despite their injuries, while others had become comatose.

What they found was one small area of the brainstem - known as the rostral dorsolateral pontine tegmentum - that was significantly associated with coma. Ten out of the 12 unconscious patients had damage in this area, while just one out of the 24 conscious patients did.

The article is here.